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Kids smoking less, but using other tobacco products more

24 June 2015

Kids smoking less, but using other tobacco products more

New statistics from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey, co-conducted by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, have revealed a veritable mixed bag when it comes to children and tobacco.

It’s regarded as giving the most accurate picture of tobacco use amongst children aged 11-18 in the US, providing a national snapshot as well as pointing to growing trends.

They key findings of the report are:

  • In 2014, one in four high school students (typically aged 15-18) and one in 13 middle school students (11-14) reported being tobacco users (using one or more tobacco products a month).
  • Of the then-current 4.6 million youth tobacco users, 2.4 million reported using e-cigarettes
  • Between 2011 and 2014, the percentage of students reporting current use of cigarettes decreased from 15.8% to 9.2%
  • On the other hand, in the same time period, hookah use doubled and e-cigarette use increased more dramatically. E-cigarette use surpassed the use of every other tobacco product.
  • In 2014, nearly 2.2 million students reported to using two or more tobacco products

Dr Benjamin J. Apelberg, branch chief of epidemiology at FDA’s Centre for Tobacco Products, said: “One thing the study confirms for us is that the tobacco product landscape has changed dramatically. Middle and high school kids are using novel products like e-cigarettes and hookahs in unprecedented numbers, and many are using more than one kind of tobacco product.”

FDA epidemiologist, Catherine Corey, added: “While we’re glad to see cigarette smoking decreasing in middle and high school youth, the increase in the use of e-cigarettes and hookahs undermines progress in reducing tobacco use among kids.

These latest findings serve to strengthen existing scientific evidence that novel tobacco products like e-cigarettes and hookah have great appeal to youth, and that comprehensive youth prevention efforts that focus on reducing all forms of tobacco use are needed.”

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